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Jonathan_Lethem,_Dissident_Gardens,_coverTwo years ago, we ran a virtual book club  devoted to reading Jonathan Lethem’s novel Chronic City. This fall, Lethem published a new novel, Dissident Gardens, which takes us not to Brooklyn but to Queens, inspired by in part by the apartment that his grandmother had in the borough while he was growing up. The novel depicts the lives of three generations in a family whose life is devoted to the pursuit of Communism in America.

I’ve written a review of the novel for Abu Dhabi’s English-language newspaper, The National, which you can find here.

And because, for length reasons, a few ideas ended up on the cutting room floor, I’ve written a post over at patell dot org expanding my account of the novel’s portrayal of the workings of ideology.

Fans of Chronic City will find a sly nod to that novel in Dissident Gardens in the form of a disparaging review of a folk album by one of the new novel’s protagonists.

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Because I sometimes only get out of my neighborhood when I’m online. Sad, I know.

Calling out the Times for not knowing much about Marble Hill, where Manhattan and the Bronx meet by land. [Boogie Downer]

The Times should have talked to Michael Miscione, Manhattan’s borough historian. See his comments on this old City Room piece by Jennifer 8. Lee, which gets the borough border history right.

New Yorkers who want to protest the censorship of David Wojnarowicz’s video at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. will march along museum mile on Sunday, December 19. [Art +]

What did we lose to gain the Bayonne Bridge? [Ape Shall Not Kill Ape]

We loved this profile of Newtown Pentacle’s Mitch Waxman: “Tour Guide of the Toxic.” [Baruch College Dollars & Sense]

A rare Coney Island victory: Shore Theater landmarked. [Amusing the Zillion]

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File under: Things I probably won’t see/do in person, given they’re outside my little downtown bubble, and also given the fact that my next two December Saturdays, per long-standing Smith-Waterman family tradition, will be spent in the back room of DBA for their annual East Village neighborhood fair of homemade holiday gifts. But if that’s not your scene, try one of these:

A guide to holiday markets in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. [Markets of New York]

A five-borough guide to holiday lights and shows [CBS]

Another guide, specifically geared toward Astoria. [We Heart Astoria]

Sunday: Bronx Messiah and Taste of the Bronx Food Show. [Bronx Mama]

Saturday and Sunday: Harlem for the Holidays. [Uptown Flavor]

Also Saturday and Sunday: Staten Island Society of Model Railroaders sponsors its annual holiday train show and toy giveaway. [SI Live]

Queens holiday lights photo by Alex Goodwind from the CBS post linked above.

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A century-old faded ad for Bloomie’s, Lexington btwn 115th and 116th [What about the Plastic Animals]

Have you explored the South Bronx Cultural Corridor? [Bronx Arts]

Inauguración de LUIS MARQUEZ EN EL MUNDO DEL MAÑANA: LA IDENTIDAD MEXICANA Y LA FERIA MUDIAL DE 1939-40, Domingo 14 de noviembre, de 15:00 a 18:00, with a special offer for the Museum’s twitter followers. [Queens Museum]

Brooklyn Historical Society workshop: “Research Your House,” Saturday from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]

Great Kills Park Nature Walk on Sunday [Staten Island Museum]

Timely pre-walk reading and welcome news: After a year’s hiatus, the Staten Island blog Walking Is Transportation is back … with some thoughts about honoring solitude.

“Harlem Fall”: photo by Yojimbot at Harlem Hybrid.

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The least we can do in these times of lean posting:

Just how cold is the axe hanging over Coney Island? [Amusing the Zillion]

Plus: Reminder about the Ruby’s petition and the Nov. 6 rally!

Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built [Tottenville Historical Society]

Woman discovers WWII explosive in Bronx home [NY1]

Take your kids — or hell, just yourself! — to the four boroughs you don’t live in. [ToNY, h/t Bronx Mama]

NY Art Book Fair at PS1 this weekend [The Q Note]

Houdini House on 113th St. Did you know Halloween was the 86th anniversary of his death? [What about the Plastic Animals?]

Photo credit: Me, for once. The view from my little bro’s new digs in Bushwick, a rooftop the size of a football field.

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Some stuff happening in the New York blogosphere outside the local East Village and contiguous neighborhoods downtown:

“A wonderful castle” on Staten Island, “built by beer and with German whimsy.” SPOILER ALERT: It later became a convent and burned down, as castle-convents built by beer are wont to do. [Ape Shall Not Kill Ape]

If you missed this week’s Poe in the Bronx screening, you can still catch an enhanced Poe exhibit at Museum of Bronx History. (The anniversary of Poe’s death came and went this week.) [Bronx News Network]

With Poe in mind, check out these Halloween events in the Bronx, for those wanting to plan ahead. [Bronx Mama]

Coney Island Eulogy? [Found in Brooklyn]

Photos of Harlem’s Peace Fish Market, circa 1938 [Harlem Bespoke]

At the Noguchi Museum in LIC, Queens, this Sunday: a Geology of Sculpture tour. Geologist Sidney Horenstein discusses the physical make-up of sculpture. Sunday at 3 p.m. [We Heart Astoria]

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Serving a city of 8 million people …

A guide to BBQing in uptown parks on the 4th [Uptown Flavor]

Miss Heather visits 5Pointz and takes snazzy photos! [New York Shitty]

Coney Island Talent Show: deadline to enter is July 16th [Kinetic Carnival]

4th of July weekend at New York Botanical Garden [Bronx Mama]

The Staten Island 4th of July Travis Parade is celebrating its centennial [travisparade.org]

Photo credit: “Scoops,” above, by Miss Heather.

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The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down, though this regular Friday feature routinely ignores anything happening below 14th Street in Manhattan, since that’s where I spend 99% of my life. In fact, other than my morning runs across two bridges, I’m afraid to leave lower Manhattan without a sleeping bag and a toothbrush. I’m working on that.

Bushwick’s Masonic Temple is for sale. 18,000 square feet for a measly million. [Animal NY]

Visit Calvary Cemetery in Woodside with my favorite Queens blogger, Mitch Waxman [Newtown Pentacle]

Angel Franco’s riveting photos of the Bronx’s 46th precinct, 1979-84 [Lens Blog, via Bronx News Network]

Introducing Harlem’s first Pride weekend [Harlem Bespoke]

All about Snug Harbor w/ our new favorite Staten Island blog [Ape Shall Not Kill Ape]

Calvary Cemetery photo by Mitch Waxman.

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Excursions real, virtual, and historical beyond the bounds of my downtown routines …

A guide to Brooklyn’s free summer film options [Brokelyn]

On Father’s Day: 3rd Annual LIC Bike Parade at Socrates Sculpture Park [We Heart Astoria]

Spending Father’s Day in the Bronx instead? Some ideas. [Bronx Mama]

A look back at Staten Island’s beach resorts and amusement parks of the early 20th century [Ape Shall Not Kill Ape]

Coming soon: relive the era of speakeasies at the Museum of the City of NY. [MCNY]

South Beach, S.I., Roller Boller Coaster postcard via Ape Shall Not Kill Ape.

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What’s happening out there in this great city of ours? If it weren’t for the internet I probably wouldn’t know, because I don’t seem to get out of my neighborhood much.

Visit Salvatore of Soho … on Staten Island. [We Heart New York]

Gardening in Harlem with BroSis [Uptown Flavor]

Celebrating Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn, 1895; check out earlier entries on Kerouac in Brooklyn, too! [Who Walk in Brooklyn]

Canadians longing for LIC [Globe & Mail]

Starting Sunday the 6th, swing into summer w/ Latin Jazz and Salsa at Bronx Cemetery [Bronx Latino]

5Pointz photo via Globe and Mail.

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